Garden Veggies

Garden Veggies
Made into tile for my stove backsplash

Portland Rose Garden

Portland Rose Garden
Mike and my 2 youngest sons Ian and Leif

Grandson Michael's Birthday 2014 throwing water balloons

Grandson Michael's Birthday 2014 throwing water balloons
With son Beau, Grandson Luke and his mom Jennifer


I cut this out of a wedding line. I must take more pictures of her.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Shanghai Girls by Lisa See - Book Review
A friend thought she was reading Shanghai Diary when she happened on to this book and recommended it. Because I enjoyed Shanghai Diary I decided to read this also.  This is a historical novel which begins in 1937 at the height of Shanghai’s glamor days.  The beautiful Chinese sisters May and Pearl Chin are enjoying a carefree life of fun and fashion.  It all begins to change when their father gambles away the family’s comfortable existence and arranges to have his daughters married off to two American Chinese boys.  The girls see no escape so they go through with the wedding, knowing that the boys will leave and they say they will follow later, never really planning to do so. 

When the Japanese invade Shanghai the girls and their mother try to escape to Hong Kong.  This is a very harrowing experience.  The girls begin to realize they have no choice but to try to get to America to the husbands they never planned to live with.

The historical events are interesting, the Chinese culture, the political events in China, the problems of immigrants when they arrive in America and living as an immigrant in the heart of China Town in Los Angeles.  The sisters are very different but powerfully dedicated to each other, even though they have jealousies and rivalries. 

I had a lot of respect for the way the girls accepted their lot and made the best of it.  Of course it is just a novel, but I felt that we all have a choice when life sends us in a discouraging direction. We can become bitter and angry or go forward with hope and hard work as they did.   I enjoyed the glimpse into the workings of the Chinese family as they strive to assimilate into American life.  The book ends very abruptly with one of the characters heading back to China.  I suspect there will be a sequel here.  (I noticed in the Costco magazine today that indeed there is a book where this one leaves off.)  This book is available on fetchbook for under a dollar.

I liked the book, probably 3 ½ stars.  I would read it again.   Another novel by Lisa See, “Snow Flower,” was made into a movie recently, a different look at Chinese Americans.  I watched it via Red Box.  It was enjoyable, if you can handle lots of subtitles. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Orange Chicken

We like Orange Chicken.  I have tried a few sauces but none of them had enough zing.  This one is worked over to please us and it is quick and easy.  And it has a lot of sauce to cover your rice.

Stir fry until Brown
1 T. sesame oil
2 cloves grated garlic

Zest one orange until you have 1 packed T.
Squeeze the orange and add water to make 1 ½ C
⅓ C Rice Vinegar
3 T. Soy Sauce
1 C. Brown Sugar
½ tsp. Ginger Root, grated –
(Bottled fresh ginger is OK but add 1 tsp.)
¼ tsp. Crushed Red Pepper  (optional)
2 T. Green Onions, Chopped (optional)
3 T. Corn Starch

Mix everything (except onions)  together in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 1-2 minutes.

Put ½ C. cornstarch in a plastic bag with ½ tsp. salt and ½ tsp. pepper.  Cut 1 ½ lbs. chicken breast into bite sized pieces.  (about 3 large breasts)  Pat dry before cutting if you rinsed the breasts in water.  Put the pieces in the cornstarch and shake until they are evenly coated. 

Put ¼ C. oil in a large non-stick fry pan.  Add the chicken pieces and let brown on one side on a medium heat.  After the chicken is nice and brown on one side you can begin to stir fry until cooked through.  Put the chicken in a serving dish and stir the sauce into the fry pan if you have some nice brown pieces there.   Pour the sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with the green onions if desired. Serve with rice.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

NAPKIN ROSES Step by step how to make

My table set with the napkin roses

Pinterest had a picture of roses made from napkins that I pinned.  I am having a luncheon this week and wanted to make them for my dining room table with a Valentine theme.  I couldn't find the directions with the picture so I worked out my own.  My roses look different from the Pinterest ones but I like them.
 This is a plate of roses made with different napkins.  The fabric will change how you make them a bit and how they look in the end.
Fold into thirds as shown.  Fold the bottom up and the top down to make thirds again.
Fold down an end to a right angle.
Start to roll the end to make a little bud for the middle. ( I just had age spots burned on my hands, I don't have leprosy. )
Pick it up and begin to roll and fold the loose end down in right angles as you roll and fold.  Basically you are twisting as you roll, in a right angle fold down, over and over.

When you have a few inches left twist it and tuck in around the bottom to look like leaves.  Some polyester fabric napkins are so buoyant they won't hold and you might have to tuck the ends in the beginning bud hole underneath.
 Finished Rose

A row of them on the table

Sunday, January 15, 2012


This is "died and gone to heaven" good.  I have made it twice for breakfast and it is so good we always feel guilty eating it.  I wouldn't hessitate to make it for dessert when I needed something quick and easy.

Slice 4 slices of french bread 1/2-3/4 inch thick.  Spread 2 slices generously with Nutella and make a sandwich.  Whip up 2 eggs with 1 T. milk or cream.  Dip each side of the Nutella sandwich in the egg until it is soaked.  Set on a plate.  Sprinkle each side with about 2 tsps. of coarse raw sugar, regular sugar also works.  Melt a T of butter in a nonstick pan for each piece.  Cook slowly until it is brown on both sides.   Slice each piece in two and sprinkle with powdered sugar or whipped cream and lick your chops when you are finished.  This serves 2.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


I am on my 5th year of reading my scriptures "every day no matter what."  Last year I was able to read the Book of Mormon, The New Testament and the D&C.  I am always amazed at how much I can read with just a little commitment every day, usually only 15-20 minutes except on Sunday when I try to read more.  I have learned that there is a POWER BEYOND THE WORDS.  My prayers are improved and more.  My thinking has more peace and direction.  I feel more love.  I desire to serve better.  I testify that nothing will changes us more than a commitment to daily scriptures.  

I read about the life of  Tyndale by Michael Wilcox this year and then watched the production of the English bible translation produced by the church.  The fervor to read and have the written word was so powerful.  So many sacrificed to give us this blessed opportunity.  We take it for granted.
 “In the end, the central purpose of all scripture is to fill our souls with faith in God the Father and in His Son, Jesus Christ—faith that They exist; faith in the Father’s plan for our immortality and eternal life; faith in the Atonement and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, which animates this plan of happiness; faith to make the gospel of Jesus Christ our way of life; and faith to come to know ‘the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom [He has] sent’ (John 17:3).”

Scripture Reading Chart  If you like those things.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


I am on Pinterest now and have come across several Coconut Curry soups with a Thai flair that I have wanted to try but some of the ingredients I couldn't find in my local markets so I ventured out with my own creation made with rotisserie chicken.  Oh bless Costco's wonderful, cheap roasted chickens and the the lovely broth they make when you boil the bones.  This soup is quick and wonderful!

Coconut Curry Chicken Soup
Made with rotisserie chicken but you could start with fresh sauteed chicken if desired.

In a Dutch Oven size pan add:
1 T. Sesame oil (if you don’t have it, no big deal, just add another T oil)
1 T. oil
1 clove of garlic grated
2-3 T. grated onion
Stir fry until it browns a little add:
4 Cups water
2 Cups rich chicken broth (If you are using rotisserie chicken and have boiled your bones uses all broth if you can.)
1 Can coconut milk
1 stalk celery chopped fine or grated
1 large carrot chopped or grated
½ tsp. pepper and salt to taste.
¼ Cup of chopped basil or cilantro (I had some of my fresh dried basil and I used a heaping T. of it.)
1 cube of  Golden Curry Paste (this can be found in most grocery stores in hot or mild and I love it.) or add 2-3 tsp. of your favorite dried curry spice.
1 T. grated ginger (The bottled ginger works.  You might want to add a little more.)
Simmer for 15 minutes and add 2-3 Cups cooked chicken.  Simmer for 5 more minutes.

Then add:  Cooked rice, pasta or raman noodles
4-6 servings

I used the small bow tie because I had it and I like it that it is a nice little spoon full.  I often like to cook the pasta separate so that it won’t affect the soup texture and flavor.  Undercook  pasta a minute or two before adding to the hot soup.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


I try to convince my writing classes to write a  Christmas letter or a year end wrap up because it is a short history of your year and it may be all you write.

January – A glacier formed on my front yard and stayed there until June.  It snowed so much I started to get weather obsessed. Maren went to market and left Douggy with me for a week.  Yikes! I don't have time for a dog.

February – We made our annual pilgrimage to St. George for the Parade of Homes and the Eccles Art Show.  I biked to the top of Snow Canyon twice and Mike played a lot of golf.

March – We spent another week in St. George with John and Linda Hoffman.  The guys golfed.  The women biked Snow Canyon twice, visited the galleries and watched Emma.

April – Leif came for Spring Break with his girlfriend Tasha.  We had a nice visit with them.  Mike retired, finally, throwing his own going away party.  I went to Women’s Conference at BYU.

May -  The Glacier begins to melt but I didn’t think my tulips would ever bloom but they did.  It is still cold and raining.  I continue my weather obsession, checking the 10 day forecast twice a day, at least.

June -  We did a 2 week road trip with Steve and Viki Whitmer to Arizona.  We hiked Wire Canyon in Southern Utah, went to Eager and Alpine to see my family ancestral home only to be driven out by a gigantic forest fire.  We spent a week in Sedona.  The guys golfed.  Viki and I hiked every day—the best hiking ever.  We hit all the galleries we could and had an all and all great time.

July – Mike had a High School golf tournament.  We spent a week in Park City.  The Hoffman’s came for part of the time.  The guys golfed a lot.  The girls perused some shopping and galleries and hiked to the top of Park City Ski resort and around the Canyons ski resort.  Mike and I saw two Deer Valley concerts and drove to Cascade Springs, this time finding the right road back through Midway.  Beau moved in with us for a couple of months as he changes jobs.

August -  I threw a big back yard birthday party for Michael.  He turned 10
September – Jennifer and Luke came for a visit.  We had another big back yard picnic, including a puppet show and homemade ice cream sandwiches.   We met Mikes siblings in St. George again.  We all went to “Grease” at Tuachan, the guys golfed and the women shopped and visited.

October -  We went to Costa Mesa to visit Maren.  Her TPT Home store is awesome.   She has a cute little house that I can imagine her in now.  We went to Cape Cod with Viki and Steve Whitmer.  We visited Martha’s Vineyard on the ferry, The Pilgrim Village, drove to Rhode Island and spent a day in Boston.   It was a wonderful trip with lots of great sightseeing and fabulous food. 

November -  I turned 65, hurray for medicare!  Leif and his girlfriend came for Thanksgiving.  I made Tofurky for the vegetarians.  We spent the month looking for a car for Leif.  One was purchased, still not sure if it was the right one.  Leif is in Portland going to graduate school.  Maren came for Thanksgiving.  Her dog Douggy decides he is my dog.  (No wonder I feed him chicken with his dog food and I play tug-a-war and ball chase when he wants and I walk the hill with him.)

December -  Lots of cooking and baking.  We had a bingo party with Dave, Colette and the kids.  I made Christmas presents with the kids for their mothers.  I had two big dinner parties with the Empty Nesters and my book club.  Maren, Douggy, Beau and Michael came for Christmas.  Douggy wears me out.  I am not his mother.  Mike got me an SLR camera for Christmas.  I am scared and excited about it.  We have put in our mission papers.  Next year will be new and exciting.